Will Freelance for Money – Getting Paid!

Okay, you all know what I’m going to say.

Sorry, job, real life, yadda yadda. But I’m here, yeah? I will totally never leave you guys fully (unless one day I totally leave you guys fully).

So I started at this new job of mine as an independent contractor. That’s the fancy name you get when you’re starting out as a freelancer for a company. It makes sense – they try you out, you try them out, and if it all works together, then boom. You may not be an IC anymore (you could go full time!)

But the thing with being an independent contractor – even if you’re working for yourself or for a company – in many cases, you’ll have to keep a track of your own hours. I will freely admit, I’m horrible at this. Not that I don’t keep track of the assignments I’m given or anything like, it’s the small stuff that I don’t realize is actually accountable and therefore, is monies. And we likes monies, right?

So today’s lesson is how and WHY you should keep track of your hours.

Why should I keep a track of my hours?

This is a no brainer. Depending on your situation, the hours that you work constitute the hours you’re getting paid. If you get started on a project at 8am and don’t finish it until 8am the next day, that’s money.

Being a freelancer is different than having a 9-5, in one thing that is – your employer keeps track of your time. Even if all you do is sit and spin in your chair all day, in your little cubicle (you’re doing something, right?), your employer is paying you to do that and hopefully, get some actual work done.

As a freelancer, you obviously can’t do that, as then how would you get paid? You need to show that you’re doing something, working something, and that something has the desired result.

How should I keep a track of my hours?

Obviously, why you need you keep hours is self explanatory. Now here’s the most important question – how do you go about doing that?

This actually depends on who you’re working for. Even if you’re doing you’re own thing, you’re still doing something for someone else and each person or business may have a set rule on how they want you to keep a hold on your hours. Designers and developers for instance, may based their time on a set number of hours for a project – like the initial set up fee, the time to design/implement it, etc. They may just issue an invoice with all the time involved and get paid an upfront fee.

Writers, such as myself, are usually based on assignment. We write the article, blog, newsletter, whatever and once it’s approved, then we get paid. In my current job, I have to keep a track of how long it takes for me to do this, along with other things on top of it. This is where tracking your time is important.


One of the tools we use is called Toggl. This is actually the second time I’ve used it and it’s completely free. It helps to track your time, with the options of an automatically timer start or if you want to plug it in manually. You can assign titles to projects (especially if you have multiples) and it’ll keep track of the hours you’ve worked for the day, week, or month.

Rescue Time

I’ve talked about Rescue Time before in one of my productive posts and it was the first time tracking tool I ever used. There’s a free version and a pro one, but essentially, it helps to keep track of your time and can even keep track of what you’re doing online. Only planned on saying happy birthday on Facebook? Rescue Time will tell you that you actually ended up spending an hour doing that.


This is a new one to me, probably cause it looks very Apple focused, but this is similar to Toggl, where you can view who’s working on what and how much time it took. There’s integration with the varied calendars, so you can put in a meeting or something and then get reminded on the iPhone or iWatch (nothing to suggest Android). Pricing ranges from free to a premium version for companies.

What should I be tracking?

As mentioned before, there were somethings I didn’t even think could be counted as paid time – emailing, meetings, Skype calls, etc, but if they involve work, they are definitely a part of what you should be paid. Again, it all depends on who you’re working for and what you’re doing, so it’s important you understand your role and what your tasks are.


About Writer 66

Writing since the age of seven, managed to get a job as a copy writer, while enjoying the unsung awesomeness as a creative fan fic writer.

Posted on May 1, 2015, in Beginnings, clients, The Business Side and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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